Yes, low mortgage rates help housing, and higher mortgage rates don't. But the fact is that lower unemployment rates are a more powerful catalyst to the housing recovery than lower rates, and higher unemployment would damage the recovery more than higher mortgage rates.
In fact, there's always been a strong, clear correlation between employment gains and rising housing starts. And here's evidence that there still is: The unemployment rate hit a high of 10% in October, 2009 and has declined slowly but steadily since then to 6.7% last month. Over the same time housing starts have increased from an annual rate of 534,000 units in October, 2009 to an annual rate of 1.09 million last month.
In other words starts doubled as the jobless rate declined. And the rate at which starts improved actually accelerated over the last year even as mortgage rates increased from a low of 3.35% in November 2012 to 4.46% last month.
So you're better off keeping track of employment in your market than you are fretting about rates. And think about it. If you don't have a job, or if you're really worried about losing your job, you're not going to buy a house...no matter how low mortgage rates are.
P.S. If housing starts this year hit the upper end of forecasted levels, construction activity will generate almost an additional 1 million new jobs and push the unemployment rate below 6%.